Two Stage Detail – Renault 5 GT Turbo “Raider” 1989
This week has been a really enjoyable week as I have had the pleasure of being able to put my car detailing skills to the test on one of my favourite old-school hot hatchbacks – The infamous Renault 5 GT Turbo Raider.
Assessing the paintwork
The car’s paintwork was showing real signs of age but the chassis and bodywork were still solid without any rust. The paint was incredibly thin in places, no thanks to years and years of people polishing it with T-cut and there were several areas where the paint was covered in micro-blisters, so great care was going to be needed whilst machine polishing to ensure that I didn’t make it worse and cut the paint even thinner than it already was. A few panels had also been re-painted but they had obviously been done on a budget as there were still wet sanding marks evident, but at least they would give me more paint to play with whilst I was working on them!
Surface scratches littered the paintwork and swirl marks and blemishing were all over it.
No surprise really with a car that was 33 years old!
I recommended a two-stage detail followed by a 5-year 10H ceramic coating to protect the finish once the detail was complete. The owner agreed and it was time to get to work transforming this beautiful timeless classic.
Have you ever wondered how to remove swirl marks or how to remove scratches from car paint? The answer is simple….with a machine polisher, a selection of polishing and compounding pads and a variety of polishes and cutting compounds.
Preparing the paintwork
Washing the vehicle
First things first with this detail and the car was taken outside for a thorough cleanse.
Citrus degreaser through a snow foam lance to strip away the filth kicked things off. Followed by tar and glue remover to remove all of the contaminants sticking to the paintwork like glue.
Then the car was coated again with a thick snow foam before starting the 3 bucket-safe washing process and a quality car shampoo. This was then followed with a clay bar to remove any invisible filth and contaminants that were still lingering around which left the paintwork feeling super slick and much better than it was before I cleaned it.
The alloy wheels and arches were also given a good clean with Dragons Breath, along with the exhaust tips and then the whole car was washed down again, ready for the machine polishing to commence back inside.
Taping the edges
Never start machine polishing unless you have masked up every edge of the paintwork.
The paint is the thinnest on every edge and if you touch against them with the side of your polishing pad then you are asking for disaster to strike. This is especially important with older cars for obvious reasons. Masking tape is what separates professional car detailers from a run-of-the-mill valeter so don’t forget “MASK EVERYTHING”
Machine polishing each panel
The panels that had been repainted over the years underwent paint correction as they were thick enough for me to cut away at them, but the panels with the thin paint and the micro-blisters would just need a tickle so as not to make them any worse but to seriously enhance the gloss levels.
The transformation that took place was truly mind-blowing and the paint responded incredibly well to the machine polishing. Surface scratches and swirl marks were removed permanently. The blemishing and fading were all removed and the paintwork was now sporting a much more natural deep gloss. It doesn’t end there though. Once the whole car was finished, it would now be ready for a super final polish with the DA to really make it “pop” and take it to a whole new level.
Conducting a super final polish
After a super final polish, the whole car looked virtually brand new. The depth of gloss and the reflectivity of the paint was incredible.
There are only 30 Raiders left on the road in the UK and I can pretty much guarantee that none of them are in the condition that this one now is.
Applying a ceramic coating
Next, the whole car was wiped down with an IPA solution to remove any polish residue that may still be on the paintwork, in order to prepare the surface for the ceramic coating. This car was having a coating called Williams Ceramic Plus 10H.
It’s a professional use only 5-year ceramic coating and it is one of my favourite coatings to use. They all give a different finish, with this one boosting the reflections and gloss levels to a superb level.
Two coats were applied to the paint using a velvet applicator pad and a foam block.
Then the car was left overnight for the ceramic coating to cure properly and bond with the paint.
Ceramic coating the alloy wheels
The style of the alloy wheels on the Renault 5 GT Turbo Raider meant I was able to machine polish them to remove the defects from them such as swirl marks. Then they were also coated with the Williams Ceramic Plus Coating. This will help keep them clean and prevent any brake dust buildup from sticking to them.
Detailing the engine bay
I also detailed the engine bay of the car to make sure it looked as good as the exterior paintwork. It had been well looked after, so it only required some degreaser and a hand polish to bring the paintwork back up to scratch beneath the lid. Then all of the plastics were dressed with rubbers and metal components were polished.
Detailing the interior
After being more than happy with the results of the car detailing, it was time to move on to the interior and bring it up to a condition that would match the exterior.
All fabric seats were cleaned using a product called Enzyme.
The carpets were cleaned with carpet shampoo and then both the seats and carpets were coated with fabric protectors in case of any future mishaps and spills.
The glass was cleaned and coated with a hydrophobic coating and all surfaces were cleaned and dressed, with incredible attention given to every nook and cranny. I even polished the metal rails underneath the seats!
Mission Completed and I’m sure you will all agree that this has to be the best-looking Renault 5 GT Turbo still on the roads today. It is truly stunning…..!